Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now has wins in two states. Candidates are setting up shop in South Carolina, and that state’s GOP Primary will more than likely be a major factor in who stays in the race. Carolina will be the state where the field gets thinned I think.
Many media have pointed out that no other non-incumbent Republican candidate has won in both Iowa and New Hampshire since 1976.
Every time I hear 1976 mentioned in the context of Republican politics, I wonder why we’d want to remember that year.
Our nominee lost the General Election. In 1976 GOP Party leaders and newspaper editors came to a consensus—President Gerald Ford was the best shot at beating a Democrat. Ronald Reagan was depicted as a scary conservative trying to unseat the president who assumed office after President Richard Nixon resigned.
That year was a divisive year in the GOP. Ford won contests in a number of early states, but Reagan began to gain momentum and he took North Carolina, Texas and California. By the time the national convention was held, battle lines were drawn between Ford delegates and Reagan delegates. The status quo prevailed and the status quo lost the election to Jimmy Carter.
Reagan’s official bio notes that his speech was the highlight of the convention, “leaving a general feeling in the room among many delegates on both sides that they had just nominated the wrong candidate.”
Frontrunner Romney is currently fending off attacks from his rivals. Every frontrunner has faced such attacks and they are to be expected.
Romney’s greatest misstep so far, in my opinion, is not repudiating the healthcare plan he helped pass in Massachusetts.
Like Texas Governor Rick Perry’s position on the state DREAM Act, Romney’s position on the state healthcare plan was easily defensible—the state’s voters wanted it, they haven’t tried to repeal it and the Legislature demanded it. Why Perry didn’t deflect the illegal alien question in an early debate I will never figure out.
While Massachusetts had every right to implement such a bill, Americans have been vocal in opposing a federal takeover of healthcare. Romney’s continued defense of his bill, however, neutralizes a political weapon that would be powerful in the battle with Obama.
Aside from healthcare, Romney will have to deal with his business record, because he has put that record forth as proof he is what America needs to rehabilitate our economy. I have no problem with the manner Romney made his money, but blue collar workers will.
Meanwhile Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) has performed very well, coming in second in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has held his own so far, coming in fourth.
Before January ends, Republicans will know the outcomes in South Carolina and Florida.
If Carolina doesn’t thin the field, Florida certainly will. It will take a lot of money for any candidate to distribute his message because Florida is a big, diverse state where money is necessary to dominate or even make a dent in the media market.
I’ve spoken to many Republican political activists and I’ve read commentary by countless others. The consensus seems to be that if Republicans can’t generate passion in our hearts for whoever wins the GOP nomination, we can focus on the House and Senate races.
A friend recently asked me, “What would you do if Paul got the nomination?”
I told her I will fight tooth and nail for whoever gets the GOP nomination. That’s why I am a registered Republican. I have made no secret of the fact I support Gingrich for the nomination, but if he should lose, I am not about to jump ship.
The one thing we can count on is a media bloodbath for the Republican nominee. Democrats are better at that than we are and rest assured, Obama will have a willing ally in most legacy media just as he did in 2008.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Jan. 11, 2012)